Much being done for inmates: iLIVE
The stories and editorial "Ex-prisoner sues over TB", "The TB death penalty" and "The way the state treats its prisoners is simply criminal" (August 27 and 28), refer.
The Dudley Lee matter is currently before the Constitutional Court and therefore the department deems it inappropriate to comment further.
Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has committed to implementation of the Correctional Services Act. Section 58 of the act establishes an independent judicial inspectorate for correctional services, under the control of an inspecting judge, to report on the treatment and conditions of people in prisons. Judge Vuka Tshabalala, the retired judge president for KwaZulu-Natal, has been appointed inspecting judge.
Over the past five years, the department has taken bold strides to provide better services to inmates, including taking care of their physical needs and their correction and rehabilitation.
We are dealing with overcrowding in a sustained and integrated manner.
Feasibility studies for new prisons are under way. Construction of the following has been approved for next year: two 500-bed capacity centres each for the Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West region and the Eastern Cape, a 500-bed centre for Western Cape and a 1000-bed centre in KwaZulu-Natal.
A pilot project for electronic monitoring of certain categories of inmates on parole started on February 14. It is our view that the pilot has been a resounding success and should be extended to monitor other categories of offenders, including those still serving custodial sentences.
It is also our intention to propose electronic monitoring as part of alternative sentencing for minor offences.
The department has also established 23 distinct centres for remand detainees.
The first state-funded halfway house was opened in February. We had identified the real need to prepare offenders to function normally in society after their release. This halfway house is currently housing juveniles. The next category of offenders who will benefit will be women.
We certainly agree, and have therefore implemented several measures to ensure, that "our prisons should not be places where people go to die. Our constitution protects all, including those who have been on the wrong side of the law."
On the other hand, we need to accept that criminality is entirely about failures in society, not a direct consequence of the failures of the system of corrections. Preventing a life of criminality begins with the family unit, the social fibre and the opportunities for growth to which children get access.